Press release


July 13, 2010

President James Michel has met with the African Union Peace and Security Commissioner Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, who is on his first visit to Seychelles and has participated in the Symposium on Piracy which concluded today.

President Michel has said that the talks with Ambassador Lamamra were very fruitful, and that particular attention was given to the challenges Seychelles and other Indian Ocean nations are facing to ensure their security and stability.

“ The African Union must look at the needs of Small Island Developing States, and not just the needs of the continent. I have been trying to draw attention to the plight of small islands of the African region in terms of the fight against piracy and climate change. At first mainland Africa did not realise the scale of the problem, but now there is a change in direction and Africa has started to realise that we must face these challenges together,” said President Michel.

President Michel said that he appreciated the African Union’s intention to consider the needs of Seychelles in the collective security strategy of the continent.

On his part, Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra said that the African Union is taking the piracy activity off the coast of Somalia seriously.

“We look at piracy on a dual level; the piracy link directly to Somali and the overall phenomenon of piracy which should be handled through the development of maritime security systems for the continent. As far as Somalia is concerned, we do believe some of the root causes of the piracy in the region have to be handled, and those root causes have to do with the underdevelopment in the country, with the clanic organisation of the society, and above all with the fact that for the last 20 to 25 years there has not been stability, security, strong central government in the region,” said Ambassador Lamamra.

Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra also said that the illegal dumping of waste in Somali waters as well as illegal fishing should be addressed, so that the pirates do not continue to use this as a pretext for their piracy activities.

“We should make sure that the whole international community abides by international law. This is not a jungle, the seas are governed by law, and therefore I think if we have genuinely committed to helping Somalia to  solve its problems, then the rest of the world should also clearly abide by the rule of law.”